[LMB] OT: Linguistic Amusement!

John Lennard john.c.lennard at gmail.com
Sun Apr 19 11:24:21 BST 2020

James observes:

"Karen wonders:-

 >...if there are translators who translate
 > names as well, making them easier.

Yes - the names in the original (French)
Asterix are puns or jokes in French. In the
translations they are (mostly - not Asterix
himself, or Obelix) changed to jokes in the
new language. But editorial control is good
and the translated names are, as far as I
have noticed, consistent in different books.

[justified rant about Sjowall and Wahloo endorsed but omitted]

James - who has ranted about this here before
(roughly once every five years, the most recent
being in 2015, so we were due another)"

John: Indeed. In the early-mid 1960s Tolkien, having been appalled by the
Swedish translation, wrote a guide for translators of LR largely concerned
with which names should and should not be rendered for meaning in the
target language. There was a mid-1970s limited edition, but it is now
available to all in Scull and Hammond's excellent *Reader's Guide to LR*,
and very interesting too.

The Bell & Hockeridge translations of Asterix into English are superb --
not only Vitalstatistix (the chief), Cacophonix (the bard), Unhygienix (the
fishmonger), and Dogmatix (a dog), but my favourites, the two Roman
centurions called Sendervictorious and Appianglorious.

John Lennard, MA DPhil. (Oxon.), MA (WU)

Associate Member & Director of Studies in English, Hughes Hall, Cambridge
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